Top 5 Travel Moments of 2022 + Reflections for 2023

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve done these personal/reflective posts! I tend to not do them as much these days because as I am trying to grow this blog into a business, I keep reading how “no one wants to hear about your life, think about how you can help THEM”.

While I like to think I provide useful info to my audience, sometimes it’s nice to also reflect and also share yourself and your own voice and experiences. I try to weave storytelling my experiences while providing helpful tips and guides.

2022 has been the year of revenge travel and me jet-setting for the first time since 2019. As people started getting vaccinated, COVID cases dropped, and the world started opening up, and so did everyone’s urge to explore. I remember during the thick of COVID cases in 2020, everything seemed so bleak and I thought that I would never be able to travel again. But here we are, 3 and a half years, and I can’t help but look back and smile thinking of 2022’s travel moments. Money replenishes, but those memories stick to your every being forever.

Without further ado, here are my top 5 travel moments!

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Top Travel Moments of 2022

Solo Traveling in Copenhagen

Last month, I galivanted all around Copenhagen and just absolutely fell in love. I adored how it was an energetic city, but not overrated like Paris and the other bigger European cities. It was so easy to get around walking or taking the Metro (also eco-friendly!). The buildings are charming too, especially in Nyhavn. I loved how clean and safe it was too! The blend of historical plazas and fairytale charm juxtaposed with ultra-modern infrastructures makes this city one of a kind.

It was just amazing seeing all the sights like Nyhavn and the Little Mermaid, trying smørrebrød, and experiencing the Christmas Market in Højbro Plads. I also got to cross off another country and visit Lund and Malmö in Sweden!

I went by myself because Cecilio could not take time off work (February, May, and November are blackout months for him working in a news station). It was also my very own belated birthday present!

The ticket was around $600-ish, but I was able to use my United Explorer credit card to accumulate miles and book the flight with Scandinavian Airlines since they are a United Star Alliance member. That’s how I was able to book through United’s portal and pay only $45 out of pocket!

I have the United Explorer MileagePlus credit card, and I absolutely love it. You earn 1 mile per $1, and 2 miles per $1 dining. But sometimes there are specials where you can earn 5–10 miles per dollar on gas and groceries, and through their shopping portal. Let me know if you would like a separate post about this card. In the meantime, you can sign up today with my referral link!

30-something Filipina woman in Copenhagen, Denmark, Nyhavn

Couples’ trip to Hawaii

This was my 5th time in Hawaii (and 2nd time on the island of Oahu), and Cecilio’s first time ever. We had a wonderful time, but it wasn’t without mishaps. On our first night, we swam on Waikiki Beach. Out of nowhere while Cecilio was using my phone to take photos of me (with a waterproof case), his leg cramped really, really badly, and dropped my phone in the water. Someone was able to retrieve my phone but Cecilio’s leg cramped for a good 10 minutes, we had to go back to the shore and a bunch of people started to help us.

Cecilio’s leg was a bit sore for the next couple of days, but we managed to swim a little bit, though he was cautious throughout the whole trip. I don’t blame him.

We got to tour North Shore (although we had a bad experience with the tour company), go on a chocolate tour/tasting with Manoa Chocolate Factory, pay our respects at Pearl Harbor, and did I mention more swimming?

Other than the little flubs, we had a fantastic time and can’t wait to go back! Maybe we’ll go to Maui next time!

Women in Travel Summit (WITS) in Kansas City

I attended my first travel blogging conference, Women in Travel Summit (WITS) in Kansas City, in May. It was pretty fun, but I had moments where I felt a little lonely and out of place, but that’s probably because I didn’t put myself out there enough or got too self-conscious about what other people thought of me. I’m learning to not do that and to just be my authentic self since we’re no longer in high school! Overall, it was a great experience learning how to grow as a travel creator, how to be a more responsible traveler, meeting tourism boards and travel brands, meeting likeminded women and getting together for dinner and drinks, and going on fun day tours with the tourism boards spoiling us (shoutout to Visit Kansas City, Visit Overland Park, and Visit Kansas City Kansas!).

As far as exploring Kansas City, boy did I do a lot of that. I ate delicious BBQ, coffee shop-hopped (KC has amazing cafés!), took self-portraits at Union Station, and roamed the streets of Downtown and Crossroads Arts District (my favorite area).

Heart Kansas City

Anniversary trip to Seattle—first flight since pre-COVID

Cecilio and I spent four nights in Seattle for our 5-year wedding anniversary. We got to visit some of the popular attractions like Pike Place Market, Space Needle, Chihuly’s Glass Art Garden, Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP), the first Starbucks, and Starbucks Reserve Roastery!

After not being able to travel via plane for 2 and a half years, I was elated the moment we drove out of the airport and into Downtown.

I love the Pacific Northwest and would love to revisit and take a day trip to Bainbridge Island or Leavenworth!

Speaking of…

Day trip to Portland from Seattle

We took a day trip to Portland from Seattle, which is about 3 hours away (longer than I thought!). I had mixed thoughts about the city, but I slowly warmed up to it. It’s hip and grungy alright, and yes, weird. But we did a decent amount of activities for the 8 hours we were there, such as eating in one of their famous food carts, grabbing a box of Voodoo Donuts, roaming Powell’s Books and the Japanese Garden, and having a romantic dinner at Café Nell.

I guess I must’ve liked Portland enough because we are going back for our 6-year wedding anniversary in March! I cannot wait to explore the city more and try more food carts and donut shops, revisit Café Nell, and go see the waterfalls.

Upcoming 2023 Travels

  • Solvang, CA: Cecilio gifted me this trip for Christmas, which actually happens to be on his birthday next month for two nights. I’m super excited, especially because Solvang is a mini-Denmark. It’ll feel like I stepped back into Copenhagen, that’s for sure. And there’s going to be smørrebrød in some restaurants! We probably will take a day trip to Santa Barbara too since it’s nearby.
  • Portland: As I mentioned, we are going back for our 6-year wedding anniversary. We have the flight and hotel booked. Now I just need to look for tours to go to Multnomah Falls.
  • Costa Rica: This was my Christmas gift for Cecilio! We will be going in April. It’s just so beautiful from what I’ve seen and heard, and I cannot wait for us to explore (and swim) in the beaches and jungles, see sloths, and go on a coffee tour. I also really, really, want to go zip-lining. Cecilio’s not keen on it. I also need to convince him if we can make a stopover in Mexico City on the way home. I doubt he’ll agree to it but it’s worth a shot.

That is what we have planned, but there are other trips I’m thinking of on the horizon. My 2 best friends and I have been talking about going to Iceland for years and we are considering going in November. It’s not quite set in stone, but I hope it goes to fruition! If it doesn’t fall through, then Cecilio and I could go on a European Christmas Market trip or go to Japan. He wants to do it late in the year so we can save up the money we will spend in Costa Rica.

Meanwhile, I might take a solo trip or two (maybe a solo cruise?!), and attend the TBEX Conference in Eau Claire, WI. Hopefully, I will have enough PTO for that, especially because I want to go on a FAM trip.

2023 Word of the Year: Bold

I’ve decided that I wanted to focus on being bold and fearless in 2023. It doesn’t come naturally because I’m pretty meek and extra cautious. There are things I want to do and accomplish on the other side but am afraid of stepping out in faith because I am afraid of rejection (even though we’ve all experienced it). But I can’t take that personally or let that stop me from trying. It’s not easy because I am sensitive, but nothing worth having comes easy. I truly believe I can make something of this little space.

I also would love to offer my graphic design services to tourism boards, travel brands, and other creators. If you’re interested, hit me up!

I was also bold in going on my first solo trip to Copenhagen, and my only regret was not doing this when I was younger. Sounds cheesy, but that trip made me realize how resilient and capable I am, even though I’ve been sheltered most of my life and quite a late bloomer in all aspects (even in travel).

Thank you for all your love and support!

I am so thankful for all my readers and for the travel community! I can’t wait to see what 2023 has in store for us.

If you find my content helpful, please please don’t hesitate to buy me a coffee 🙂

Hope you all have a wonderful year and beyond!

See you on the horizon,

Hannah is a travel writer, graphic designer, and the founder/editor of Hannah on Horizon. She is based in Sacramento, California, living with her husband and two adorable dogs. She shares tips on how to experience luxury travel on any budget, and how to maximize time at each trip or destination, no matter what your budget or amount of vacation time at work. She enjoys making you feel like you have visited each destination with her through her storytelling and informative writing style.

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